Once we've looked at the what question, we can see that tied to it very naturally is the question of when do we teach what in fact, we've already been addressing that by saying that there are certain things that should be taught as a first importance in the Christian life. And so the question is, seeking to ask that very question, are there some things that should be taught first and there are other things that should be taught later? The Bible certainly hints that this is the case. For example, Peter speaks of craving pure spiritual milk like newborn babies. First Peter, chapter two, verse two and three. But Paul says that there's a time for us to move beyond milk and get to meat or solid food. He rebukes the Corinthians, first Corinthians three, verse two, because they ought to have been ready for solid meat, solid food. But they still were on the milk stage of life. And the author to the Hebrews rebukes his readers for not being able to go on to the deeper truths as they should be, because they're still stuck on the foundational truths. Hebrews Chapter 511 through Chapter six, verse three Again, we can appeal to church history as well. At this point in the ancient church as the Ministry of Catechesis was developed, and in the ancient church, second and third century, there was a wide pattern in place called the catacomb. And it's sort of a school of the faith for those who are newcomers to the faith or those who wanted to become Christians. And there was clearly an emphasis on being sensitive to spiritual development at different stage of the process of catechesis.
There was different kinds of instruction, different kind of content that was taught, for example, in one one common form of catechesis in the ancient church, if somebody was just an inquirer, a curious person, someone we might call a seeker today, curious about the faith, Auguste and Saint Augustine argued that that person should be instructed first in the biblical story. So Augustine, in writing about the Ministry of Catechesis in the early fifth century, late fourth, early fifth century, Augustine's emphasis was that a seeker and inquirers should be given a biblical overview of the redemptive story for August. And he would say, begin with creation and go right up to the present history of the church and unpack the major events in God's dealing with people and tell the story in a compelling way. And Augustine thought that the story itself would be very appropriate and very powerful for someone who was interested in Christianity, but not yet a Christian. Formally, Augustine's wisdom, I think, is very good for us today. In an age when narrative in general seems to be highly prized, narratives always been powerful, and we're kind of returning to understand just how powerful narrative is today. And as we were dealing with the seekers, the use of a of a of a narrative approach, the use of the biblical story told in a compelling way can be very powerful in the postmodern context. For example, there is a belief that we all live according to our own stories and there really is no medicine matter story, no metanarrative that ties all of human families together or can really appeal to the to the whole of human history. Well, people are very interested in stories, and as Christians are given opportunity to tell what we believe is our story, then we trust the Holy Spirit will bring home to the hearer.
The fact that this story, this Christian story, is indeed the story, the one metanarrative that makes sense of all human history and the ancient church. They thought this was a great place to begin. For those who had who had said yes to the biblical story and desired to be formally instructed in the Christian faith, a next stage of learning while someone was in that catacomb in that stage of development as a catacomb and a formal learner would be a back and forth between those poles of what we believe and how we behave. Doctrine and practice. Cyril of Jerusalem, for example, and his basic catechesis in the fourth century in Jerusalem, Cyril's instruction was a cross we between pious doctrines and basic moral instruction. And for Cyril, those two things needed to be kept in balance all the time. What do we believe and what's distinctive about our belief and what how do we behave? What's distinctive about our behavior? Someone would be instructed in that kind of Christian, moral and and doctrine phase for a period of time until they were ready to be baptized. In the ancient church, baptism was often delayed. Until someone had been instructed in the faith, much like as we saw, if somebody wanted to be converted as an adult to Catholicism today, they would have to be instructed first or converted to Judaism as an adult. Today, they would be instructed first before they were received in in the ancient church, such a practice was in place because many who were becoming Christians were coming from such radically pagan backgrounds to Christianity that there could be no assumption that they understood the same things in terms of ethics or theology. This was a radical revolutionary move for them to become Christians, and it was of great concern that they be instruction instructed well in the faith.
Well, we may not like this idea of delaying baptism until after the instruction. Maybe we would take the approach that after baptism we require an extended period of instruction. But in the ancient church, again, an inquirer would be instructed in the biblical drama catacomb and formally instructed in doctrine and practice. And then the candidate for baptism would be instructed in the Apostles Creed that was perceived to be sort of the deep mysteries of the faith. And the only when someone had been newly baptized would they be instructed in the Lord's Supper and allowed to receive the Lord's Supper. And then those who had been mature members of the church were just continually instructed in various biblical text and themes. But it's intriguing at the very least to see that in the ancient church there was concern that something be taught appropriate to the developmental stage of the person. And I would love for us in Christian education today to return to this idea and to be concerned about readiness on both the level of natural development and spiritual development, there is something that children are naturally capable of and other things that they're not naturally capable of in terms of their cognitive and intellectual development. And the same thing is true on the spiritual plane. And then just one last glimpse at the one question before we leave this. As we build our educational ministries and teaching ministry in the church, one thing that we want to be careful to do is to try to to let the left hand know what the right hand is doing in the church. So, for example, if we do have certain instruction that we think is appropriate for children and then those children graduate into the youth program, we want the youth pastor to know what the children's pastor has been teaching.
And if the junior high pastor has been teaching certain things to build on the knowledge that's been laid foundation of knowledge late in elementary school, then the junior high pastor should speak to the senior high pastor and let the senior high leaders know what these students have learned. And the senior high pastor should be concerned about preparing people for college and what they will experience at college and and so on. Of course, there'll always be movement in the church, people coming and going, but on both the natural level and the spiritual level, there should be intentionality in having a plan in place that helps people be formed comprehensively and strategically so that there is building upon previous learning, always going on and preparation for subsequent learning is always going on as well, that we can achieve some real continuity in the life of the church. Just a brief look then at the wind question and we're going to pause now and then we will turn our attention to the whom question.